Using the IUCN Red List Criteria, the Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) is conducting assessments of the conservation status of known plant species at national, regional, and international levels. These assessments address Target 2 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, identifying the species under the greatest degree of threat and therefore of highest conservation priority.
Central and South America
The Missouri Botanical Garden has completed preliminary assessments of the conservation status of 6,832 plant species in Central and South America, within the Mesoamerica and Tropical Andes biodiversity hotspots.
Plant Red Listing Projects in Madagascar, the Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests of Tanzania and Kenya, the Caucasus, and Indochina
The Missouri Botanical Garden is collaborating with the International Union for Conservation of Nature /Species Survival Commission (IUCN/SSC) and other institutions on four important regional plant conservation assessment projects funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF): for Madagascar; for the Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests of the East African Tanzania/Kenya Hotspot; for the Caucasus Hotspot encompassing portions of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Turkey, and Russia; and for the Indochina region of the Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot. For these four areas of exceptional biodiversity, the projects are conducting Red List assessments whose collective goal is some 7,000 species.
Global Assessments in progress:
The Missouri Botanical Garden also helped to establish the Madagascar Plant Specialist Group and the Caucasus Plant Specialist Group under the IUCN/Species Survival Commission and is helping to establish an Indochina Plant Specialist Group. Various MBG staff serve as members of Specialist Groups and Red List Authorities.
The Missouri Botanical Garden is evaluating the conservation status of 3,000 plant species endemic to Madagascar. The project will increase tenfold the number of Malagasy plants assessed for the IUCN Red List, making them available for conservation decision making. The project compiles, synthesizes, and analyzes distributional data on the 3,000 endemic plant species and enters the assessment data for these species into the IUCN Species Information Service (SIS) data entry module. The project also conducts GIS analyses to determine the key criteria (Extent of Occurrence; Area of Occupancy) utilized for assigning Red List categories. A Red List Project Web portal, consisting of a mash-up of Madagascar Catalogue information, distribution data analyzed in GIS to determine key Red List parameters and mapped in Google Earth, and a preliminary conservation assessment, has been fully implemented, with the additional capacity for direct feedback from specialists and IUCN/SSC Madagascar Plant Specialist Group (GSPM) members prior to validation workshops.
The project holds workshops to train Malagasy botanists in the concepts and methodology of IUCN Red List assessments, entry of assessment data into the IUCN Species Information Service (SIS) data entry module, and transmission of final validated assessments to the IUCN Red List program, as well as to validate preliminary conservation assessments. Through these training workshops, establishment of an experienced Red List team, and capacity building for the IUCN/SSC Madagascar Plant Specialist Group to assist in fulfilling its role as the principal advisor to the Malagasy government on plant conservation, the project will significantly expand in-country capacity to conduct plant conservation status assessments.
Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests Biodiversity Hotspot of Tanzania and Kenya
The Missouri Botanical Garden, in partnership with the National Herbarium of Tanzania, the East African Herbarium, and the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, conducted the first comprehensive evaluation of conservation status of ca. 1,800 targeted plant species of the Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests region of Tanzania and Kenya in collaboration with IUCN. In addition, the project trained East African collaborators, integrated them into a strengthened network of regional resources for this biodiversity hotspot, and developed the infrastructure in East African institutions to conduct this work. The project also compiled all existing information on the targeted plants of this hotspot into a single source accessible to all stakeholders and explored and scientifically documented the poorly known areas in this biodiversity hotspot.
For updated information, see http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/Research/tanzania/cepf3.shtml.
The Caucasus Biodiversity Hotspot
The Missouri Botanical Garden is collaborating with institutions in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Turkey, and Russia to coordinate and develop plant Red List assessments for the Caucasus Biodiversity Hotspot. The project first prepared a baseline compilation of Caucasus regional plant endemics, indicating their occurrences in each of the six countries in Caucasus Biodiversity Hotspot. This master list facilitates the assessments of country endemics by National Centers in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, and Russia. The Regional Coordination Center in Tbilisi, Georgia, reviews all assessments and enters the associated data into the IUCN Species Information Service (SIS) Data Entry Module for transmission to the Red List office in Cambridge. In addition, the Regional Coordination Center designates taxa that are present in two or more countries for joint cooperative assessments.
The Indochina Region of the Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot
The Missouri Botanical Garden is collaborating with the Species Programme of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), and with partner institutions in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand, to assess the conservation status and distribution of globally threatened plant species in the Indochina region. The current plant Red Data List represents only a fraction of the plant species of global conservation concern in the region, since comprehensive global threat assessments following IUCN Red List Criteria have been conducted for only certain groups of plants.
The collaborative project will assess the 248 currently Red Listed species — which, except for conifers, were last evaluated more than ten years ago using a now-outdated version of the IUCN Criteria — and approximately 200 additional potentially threatened species selected by the project using the IUCN online RapidList tool. The project will also identify important plant areas (IPAs) for site conservation action across the region. Within the context of conducting Red List assessments, the project will conduct training workshops for local botanists and conservation biologists in the application of the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria and in the use of IUCN’s Species Information Service (SIS), an online tool that allows local botanists who are key data holders to update species accounts. The project will compile comprehensive taxonomic, distribution, and other supporting data on the target plants of the region into a single, publicly accessible database — the information needed by decision-makers and conservation managers to protect threatened species and manage priority areas. The project will develop a network of botanists, ecologists, and conservation biologists active in the Indochina region and organize this network as an Indochina Plant Red List Authority under the Species Survival Commission of IUCN to carry on plant conservation in the region.
The Missouri Botanical Garden is conducting a species by species analysis of the flora of Nicaragua. The project is applying the information gathered during MBG’s last 30 years of studies of the floristics of Nicaragua, which resulted in part in MBG’s publication of the Flora de Nicaragua in 2001, to understand the conservation status of the flora of Nicaragua and prepare recommendations for its conservation. The project first analyzed the 5,796 species of vascular plants reported in the Flora of Nicaragua and assigned a conservation value to each. The species with higher conservation values are being further analyzed using the IUCN Red List Criteria. In order to gather additional information for the analysis, the project is carrying out field evaluations of populations of the most endangered species of seed plants. The project is also conducting niche modeling for some of the species to find potential locations for additional populations. One of the goals of the project is to produce a conservation analysis of the status of the flora of Nicaragua, to be published in a book for a popular audience. The book will contain two parts: first, a general analysis of the conservation status of the flora including areas of higher endemism and an overview of endemism and diversity in the protected areas and, second, case studies of the most endangered species (ca. 100 species) including recommendations for their conservation, either in situ or ex situ.
Learn more about Plant Information Analysis